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Grateful Dead Live at Avalon Ballroom on 1969-01-26

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Grateful Dead Live at Avalon Ballroom on 1969-01-26

Topics Live concert

Cryptical Envelopment > Drums > The Other One > Cryptical Envelopment > Clementine > Death Don't Have No Mercy Dark Star > St Stephen > The Eleven > Turn On Your Love Light

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Avalon Ballroom
Location San Francisco, CA

Source Soundboard
Lineage MSR > C > DAT > CD > SHN
Transferred by Seth Kaplan


Material from this date (The Eleven > Lovelight) also appeared on Live Dead- go buy it!

Known flaws:
SBD adjustments on the first Cryptical Envelopment.
Splice in Dark Star at 8:12. Resumes just before the second verse.

Some files were not cut on sector boundries... they were fixed using shntool and a new md5 checksum file was made. The sector boundries were the only reason the files are now named as "fixed." (12/14/00)


Reviewer: c-freedom - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 26, 2016
Subject: Dark Star crashes...
Well this is not a twenty minute star but they sure pack a punch in under 10 minutes.
The Question to my mind is 'Was the band on?'
And certainly the band is ON this night.
One could say the Avalon time issue and recording for LIVE DEAD really help the band just nail what they got to get done.
A later day version of this would be the recording, TRANSITIVE NIGHTFALL OF DIAMONDS... from the Byrne arena. The Second Set for that show was so tight that you knew the Dead had a set list and a plan and they just nailed it.
Now does that mean this is always the best route for the DEAD, definitely NOT. Shows like Veneta 72
are great because they are organized chaos.
Well anyway this is like a large slice of LIVE DEAD and for me this was always the gold standard of what I dreamed of the night before a show.
Reviewer: jimtuht - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 22, 2016
Subject: whoops
indeed this is the Live/Dead Eleven/Lovelight session...I mentioned the wrong date with a post of the 2/27 show, which I attended...some flawless stuff here...with the normal hit-and-miss experimentation/risk the way, does anyone have a tape of the 12/27 Avalon show, which was broadcast (in mono)...just curious...
Reviewer: njpg - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 26, 2015
Subject: -
Short but great show.
Reviewer: eggcream - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 26, 2013
Subject: The Eleven
Holy Shit!!!!
Start with The Eleven, then whatever happens after that, it's up to you!
Reviewer: bluestones - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 16, 2011
Subject: Any Help Would Be Appreciated
Anyone who got this show before the streaming only days will be richly rewarded if they send me this show via My email is and it's a free membership. By richly rewarded, I mean I'll give you a really great Dead show from your choosing.
Reviewer: clementinescaboose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 10, 2010
Subject: Clementine!!!
this clem, though not quite flawless, contains one of the most inspired and intrepid jams i've heard in this era. there MAY have been better versions in '68, but this one stands out as truly unique.

oh yah, and the Eleven>Lovelight ain't to shabby either ;-)
Reviewer: rschwz28 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 24, 2010
Subject: Who's organ?
It sounds like Pigpen on organ. Am I wrong? Then where is Tom C.?
Reviewer: whitelightning66 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 10, 2010
Subject: The Dead!
All I can say is Whoa! The band is so it's own it's down right scary!. Brought back all kinds of memories of innocence, great music, and special times. Long Live The Grateful Dead! Thanks for posting this.
Reviewer: david_james - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 22, 2009
Subject: My sweet...
I've probably logged more Dead-listening hours with this show than any others. The Clementine hooked me, and the show is phenomenal to the end. There is so much YOUTH and VIGOR and this performance. It's about time I left a review. 5/5.
Reviewer: NYLifer - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 26, 2009
Subject: Spoonful
Of course it's a great show and recording.

But in addition to all that, check out Phil and Bobby hitting Spoonful at exactly 9:15 into Lovelight, and Phil giving the take your hands out of your pockets invocation at 10:15!

Thanks archive and GOGD.
Reviewer: Darrylizer - favoritefavoritefavorite - June 18, 2008
Subject: The mix and recoding make a five star show a three
This is a great show from which The Eleven and Lovelight were taken for the album Live Dead. So you know the playing is nothing short of wondrous. Unfortunately the treble challenged and muddy sound, not to mention the numerous mix problems/errors force me to knock off two stars. Live Dead sounds very good so you know that there are better recordings available.
Reviewer: smgarcia - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 28, 2006
Subject: William Tell
I like the William Tell segment, a rare segment only when Saint Stephen segued into The Eleven.
Reviewer: Dub Irie - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 30, 2005
Subject: Lovelight
I would have to say the 15 minutes of Lovelight here is what is notable to me. One excellent version with Pig and Jer going at it. Recording quality par for the era.
Reviewer: TheDooDahMan11 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 24, 2005
Subject: Great Show
just your typical great rather early dead shows that all your fellow deadheads would enjoy
Reviewer: Kola67 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 22, 2005
Subject: a very nice show
there's a great energy throughout this whole show. My highlights are a particularly tragic version of Death Don't Have No Mercy, plus The Eleven and Lovelight.

The short Dark Star is played by Jerry at a pace unsustainable in much longer versions, impressive but not my favorite version because it feels like it's all Jerry. There seems to be a shift in tone right before "mirror shatters..." which makes me wonder if the recording was cut. Clementine has a jam that evolves to a two minutes stretch where ignoring the organ you can close your eyes and pretend it's 1975 and listening to Help on the Way...starting somewhere around the seven minute mark. I'm wondering if anyone else thinks this. Phil is great.

St Stephen is well played as it always seemed to be this year. Funny how later in life Jerry didn't like Stephen because when the band was off you'd hear it in this didn't seem to happen at all in 1969.

this 3 day stand marks the Dead's first recordings done in 16-track, something they were using to produce Live Dead (Eleven & Lovelight appear on record), the sound quality is really good.
Reviewer: macfawlty - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 19, 2005
Subject: Clementine is my psychedelic fantasy
Let me say that '68 is my favorite year overall and the great playing extended into the following year or so. This show is really a standout for a great set list that just flows well from beginning to the end. The playing here is I think some of the most creative and inspired and powerful. Pigpen's organ and Jerry's playing are well recorded and balanced. The sound is really good and I have to rank this as one of my favorites of '68-69. Clementine is the best I can recall hearing (although I love it always) and flows so naturally into DDHNM as it does into DS and beyond. I will come back to this one often I know.
Reviewer: hyperboy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 21, 2005
Subject: Oh yes!
What a set! F-ing bad ass! But to say "peak dead" is absurd. With all the amazing music still to come, this IMO can NOT be peak. For me, all periods had peaks.

Still a great set of 1969 dead.
Reviewer: Susep - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 17, 2005
Subject: Peak Dead
Phil plays the bass line from So What in this atypical Clementine.
Reviewer: lchange43 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 22, 2005
Subject: these are the live dead sessions from the eleven to love light
great tapes burned this albumn out when i was 9 or 10 listning to Jerry masterfully tear up the gibson guitar, great sound brings back crazy times and memories of experimenting with music and physcodelics
Reviewer: AugustNine - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 2, 2004
Subject: The Dead Dont Have No Mercy
Just listen to the Death Don't, the recording is remarkable, phil is a beast, and it just kicks ass.
Reviewer: sheikyerbouti - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 9, 2004
Subject: Great
Always loved live dead and this show is wonderful. Have heard others with more power though from this period.
Reviewer: Sonic_Utes - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 4, 2004
Subject: All in All Good
The sound quality problems in the beginning aside, this is an enjoyable show. I do have to say I like the earlier Clementines much better. (Eleven > Lovelight on Live Dead)
Reviewer: JohnOO - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 8, 2004
Subject: Deranged
Must have been something in the water, they play like lunatics all the way through. 5 stars alone for the Lovelight, the rest is top notch too. The mix fluctuates wildly for a couple of minutes before settling down.
The Clemintine is vastly different to the versions played in early '68.
Well worth downloading!
Reviewer: velociraptor - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 13, 2004
Subject: nice clean sounding recording
This recording is missing the high end distortion, or "crunchiness", if you will, from other shows of this period. Of course if you like crunchy sounding recordings, I would stay away from it.
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Uploaded by
Jonathan Aizen
on 4/23/2004
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